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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Government and International Affairs


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2021/22
Tied to L2K609 Defence, Development and Diplomacy
Tied to L2K909 Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To understand the fundamentals of defence engagement policies and strategies focusing on the building blocks of a defence engagement strategy and its practical implementation.
  • To understand and critically challenge the spectrum of defence engagement from an international point of view critically analysing differing approaches and their effects.
  • Through case studies and role play, develop an understanding of how an integrated defence engagement strategy is created.
  • To understand the challenges inherent in the practical implementation of a defence engagement strategy and the management of defence engagement operations.


  • This module will introduce students to the concepts, policies and strategic frameworks commonly used by nations when planning and executing international defence engagement.
  • Students will develop their understanding of the depth of analysis and understanding required to design and implement defence engagement effectively.
  • Students will deepen their understanding of how defence engagement is used to further national and multinational interests in a variety of pre-conflict contexts from enduring peace-time engagement to stabilisation and conflict prevention operations.
  • Empirically, the module will introduce and analyse differing international approaches and their effects.
  • Through plenary and case studies, students will analyse how defence engagement strategies are designed, implemented and integrated across national and international stakeholders and implemented.
  • Case studies and role play will provide a platform on which students can reflect on the skills required and the challenges often faced by defence engagement practitioners.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To identify and explain key approaches and objectives of defence engagement ranging from long-term routine relationship management to pre-conflict crisis management.
  • To understand how defence engagement strategies are shaped by a range of national and international factors.
  • To understand the nature of the analysis and understanding that underpins defence engagement.
  • To have a knowledge of the strategic building blocks of defence engagement strategy design.
  • To understand the actors and activities involved in the implementation of defence engagement strategies across a variety of contexts.
  • To apply these frameworks to contemporary case studies.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To identify, analyse and evaluate differing strategic approaches to defence engagement.
  • To design, in outline, strategies to achieve international objectives with the necessary underpinning analysis, understanding and awareness, and with the required national and international integration of allies, partners and stakeholders.
  • To apply strategic defence engagement frameworks, actors and activities against a range of national and international objectives in a variety of peace-time and pre-conflict settings.
  • To have an awareness of the cultural and societal understanding necessary to act effectively in the conduct of defence engagement operations.
  • To have an awareness of the tactics, techniques and procedures used by actors in defence engagement.
Key Skills:
  • To construct and synthesise arguments critically for both oral and written presentations from differing sources of material, including material delivered orally and in reports and essays.
  • To demonstrate an independent approach to learning, thinking (self-)critically and creatively, and problem-solving.
  • To use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources.
  • To formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English in an effective way, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing and written to high academic standards.
  • To participate in and reflect on collaborative group work.
  • To demonstrate effective time management.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be delivered as a block in workshop format over a period of two full consecutive days, and will involve a mixture of lectures, short presentations, discussion and small group work and a role play or as oral presentations based on real or constructed cases.
  • Summative assessment will include a pre-workshop article review or role briefing and a poat-workshop report, policy document or essay. Which case study for the essay is selected is in the hands of students, so as to maximise flexibility with a view to the wide range of professional backgrounds and needs students attending the course are expected to have. The guiding questions for the essay/report are based on the themes discussed during the workshop. The article review is designed to provide students with a focused task to prepare them, through self-guided learning, for the workshop’s discussions as well as case study analysis.
  • Assessment is intended to develop students' analytical and academic writing skills. Students will receive continuing formative feedback in seminar and group discussions. They will receive formal formative feedback on their presentations through the group tasks following the presentations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 1 Epiphany Term 2 days 15
Preparation and Reading 135
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Oral presentation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Article Review 1,000 30%%
Component: Reflective portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay or report 2,500 70%

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentations; continuing feedback in seminar and group discussions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University